The world is currently going through a rough patch in its economic history. It would be naïve to ignore the fact that the past few months and weeks have been very difficult for the world’s economy and ultimately for those who support the ministry of Forgotten Voices International. We are on our knees as Christians in this part of Africa, knowing that when the situation is bad in the western world, it becomes worse in the already needy third world countries. Our hope of economic survival depends on the continued stability of the economy of the western world. For example, in my country, the tourism industry has been enjoying a steady growth in the past five years because of foreign tourists coming to visit the “Mighty Victoria Falls” and other tourist attractions that the country has to offer. We have had a significant rise in tourists coming to visit our nation in the last few years. This may not continue if the economies of the wealthy nations are not performing well. Our positive progress so far will begin to stall.
It hurts to realize how much this in turn could affect the poorest of the poor in our societies. God calls us to… “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” (Psalm 82: 3). These are indeed central to God’s heart! This is why we do not need to forget them amidst these world economic trials. It is for this reason I bring yet another story from “Voices from the Ground” just to keep ourselves in touch with those who suffer silently while the world is busy debating on the ‘macro and micro’ economic parameters.
I want you to meet Doris Chisenga and her daughter, Modesta. Doris (40) was widowed in 2006 and has four children. Modesta (8 years then), one of the girls, was taken in with her father’s people. Doris’s education is very limited as she only went up to grade seven in 1984. After failing to secure a place in secondary school, she got married to Mr. Chisenga. They were married for twenty years. Doris and her family were doing fine because Mr. Chisenga, as a mechanic, brought home enough money to even afford a private school for their oldest son, Patrick, who is eighteen years old now. However, Patrick is doing nothing now because Doris cannot afford to send him to any college.
Since the death of her husband, it has naturally been hard for Doris to pay school fees for her children. Having no trade whatsoever, she tried selling vitenge (loin clothe), buying them from Nakonde (border town with Tanzania) and reselling them in Ndola. However, the system of ‘get now and pay later’, proved to be tricky for her to collect all her monies in order to continue with the business. Ultimately the business failed. She now works as a domestic servant in order to support her family. But her less than $25 a month is not enough to meet her family needs.
It was difficult to locate her home when I went for this interview. Apparently she fails to keep to one home simply because she has difficulties paying rent due to her limited income. However, we finally located her place of work and she took us to visit her daughter, Modesta.
I want to confess that my earlier intentions were to write her daughter’s story, but when I heard hers too, I could not resist but share it too. However, here is her eleven year old daughter’s unfortunate story:
Modesta, (11) is Doris’s daughter. When her father died, she was taken in by her father’s relatives. Unfortunately, ever since she left home, she has been treated more like a ‘slave’. She was not taken back to school; instead, she became her aunt’s house servant, Washing dishes and cleaning the house while her aunt went to the market to sell vegetables. Asking her aunt why Modesta wasn’t in school, all she could say was that Modesta never told her she needed to go to school anymore. This was sad to hear. Modesta had basically become the ‘other woman’ in her aunty’s home, instead of being a school going child like other children of her age. She was out of school for over a year until her situation was brought to the attention of her church, Mushili Baptist Church, one of the churches in the Zambia Baptist Association that will hopefully benefit from the partnership with Forgotten Voices International. Thank God she has been taken back to school now, but her education depends on the support she will continue to receives from the church and its partners, like FVI.
Pray for this family as they are passing through difficult times in their lives. Doris misses her husband very much. From what she speaks of him, you could tell that he was a very responsible husband and father to his family. When she was asked what one thing she would love to do in order to bring income home, she said she would contact me later.
Your fellow servant in Christ,